Reloading is about supporting your shooting habit and helping you shoot a caliber (and rifle) that suits you and what you do. Shall we get into the discussion about what calibre, rifle or projectile is best – Eeeee!?
Yes Eeeee! – this my personal acronym for Economy, effectiveness, ease of use, equipment and ego. Economy is why we are reloading but choice of calibre has an effect too. Big cases cost more to fill with powder. Some caliber projectiles are very expensive. Effectiveness looks at: choice of caliber, choice of projectile and type of game. Ease of use is “Will my ammo be on the shelf of the closest sports shop?” You wouldn’t believe the number of stories I have heard of hunters getting to the bush and have forgotten their ammo! Ego is all about choices – what rifle you have to have, what caliber you have to have. Whatever you do you make choices and accept that there are pluses and minuses.
For now I would like to focus on reloading equipment, with tips for getting started.
The best tip for novices is to find a mate with a reloading set up and see if you can co-opt the mate into helping you reload some cartridges to get first up experience!
For gear for those starting off my recommendation is look at a Lee kit. The good value Anniversary kit from Reloaders Supplies has everything you need to get started except for the dies for your rifle caliber, a tray, a case trim in your caliber and consumables. (I have deliberately glossed over reloading presses, as a press choice is almost an article by itself!)
Consumables – First up powder and projectiles(bullets) are something that you need to consider. ADI powders are readily available and have online loading data and velocity and is published in a useful book. Before you buy powder or projectiles go to ADI Powder website and find your caliber. There are a range of powders listed for each caliber for example 308 has at least 5 types of powder listed. Now it is up to you to decide. Lets look at some guidelines. What do you intend to do eg. bench rest shooting might be best with Bench Mark 2. Economy. You might have a 308, a 6.5 Swede and a 223. You can buy a specific powder for each cal by choosing bullet weight and velocity you like – which is a little expensive. Or you can cast your eyes over each of the pages and maybe you find one powder like 2206H that is versatile over a range of calibres.
Projectiles – there are a large range of projectiles available, Reloaders supplies has approx. 485 projectiles on the shelf and, for example, 308 cal has 12 weights of projectile listed on the ADI page. For the novice look at a projectile weight that is the same as the Ammo you bought in the factory pack. For someone more experienced you can choose a projectile to suit your rifling twist or whether you want a light fast, flat shooting projectile for range or a heavier projectile knock down power (more on this in later articles)
Primers there are a range of primer sizes and manufacturers. First choose your primer based on what you shoot: small or large pistol primers, for rifle primers there are small, large and bench rest variants as well as magnum primers for both pistol and rifle and of course 50 cal and shot shell primers. A simple tip is to google primer for your caliber or consult the top of the ADI page for your caliber.
Got Brass? My recommendation is police your brass (military jargon from WWII) meaning find and pick up all your spent cases. What we need for reloading is Boxer primed brass, which means one central primer hole that the die primer punch goes through. It pays to check your brass by looking into an empty cartridge as the two smaller off centre primer holes of Berdan primed brass is not suitable for the common dies meaning your primer punch will bend or break. Military brass may be Berdan primed with the two off center primer holes, this can be reloaded but is a different process.
Reloading dies – for price and range of features Lee dies are hard to walk past for the novice see the range of hundreds of different calibres of rifle and pistol dies at Reloaders.
If you haven’t got powder or projectiles, primers or brass pop along to Reloaders supplies website or call or visit the store to get the consumables for your caliber from Reloaders’ range. Don’t forget to tell them that The Wild sent you.
Next week getting reloading underway!
Disclaimer: My reloading advice and data is for guidance only, it is not definite material. Please refer to manufacturers reference material or reloading manual to check your loading data. I am not responsible for any mistakes you make during the reloading process, when you are shooting, or damage that might occur to your firearm or injury to yourself from shooting reloads.